The bullpen did not blow this game, nosiree Bob. We lost this game fair and square. Then we didn’t. Go figure.
Padres went up five-zip, knocking Mike Foltynewicz out in the top of the sixth. Big Game James outpitched Folty through five. Given our druthers, we’d still rather have Folty than Shields because this year we’re not going to win anyway; and Folty’s going to be around a lot longer than Shields. Maybe. I sure as heck hope so. Tonight, though, Folty was not good.
We tied the Pads in the bottom of the sixth, with a little help from the Padres. More than a little. The Padres’ defense let Shields down, but BGJ threw the pitches that Andrelton ripped for a three- run double and Jonny Gomes hit for the game-tying single.
Yep, Jonny Gomes got the game-tying hit off a right-handed pitcher. I kid you not. Braves couldn’t score, so neither Folty nor BGJ figured in the decision.
Away from the game, David Justice was the Braves’ best player tonight through the first five innings; and he didn’t swing the bat once. He told some good stories though, some that made me think he’s lurking on the Journal. Specifically, he told Bobby Cox stories that pretty much underlined the debate that’s been cooking on Braves Journal.
“When we won,” said DJ of Bobby, “it was because of us. When we lost, it was because of him.”
Justice also talked about how Cox protected his players: “He’s coming out to protect you.” Justice made Bobby Cox sound just like Fredi.
Here’s a couple of other things you probably already know but I think are worth repeating. The Padres bullpen had not allowed a run on their current road trip.
The Braves bullpen, on the other hand, has allowed the most runs of any MLB pen.
Another: Hank Aaron was the first player listed in the Baseball Encyclopedia until David Aardsma made it to the bigs. Now Aardsma is ahead of Hank on the Braves player list too.
Andrelton Simmons was charged with an error on a grounder deep in the hole, even though Juan Uribe screened him and the play, if completed, would have been another yawner on Simba’s 2015 highlight reel. The boy suffers under a load of expectations.
Andrelton had two hits tonight, driving in three runs and scoring once. Because of the expectations, he’ll likely be blamed for flying out with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh. Andruw would understand.
Jonny Gomes is not going to win a gold glove. He still shouldn’t bat against right-handed pitchers, despite the acorn he found tonight.
Aardsma, Avilan and Cunniff followed Folty. They were productive big league relief pitchers tonight. Good on them. Because they didn’t suck, the Braves went into the bottom of the seventh tied at five.
Jim Johnson was given the eighth. First batter he faced was Melvin Upton. Walk. You can’t be too careful with those sub-.200 hitters. Will Venable came up next. Can of corn to Cameron, one out. Norris next. Derek not Chuck. Melvin stole second, went to third when Betty threw the ball to the outfield. Norris bounced to Uribe, who threw Upton out at the plate, thanks to an Andrelton-like slide. Melvin being BJ.
Meanwhile, Norris is at first; and the real Upton’s at bat. Justin grounds out, Uribe to Freeman. The Braves are still alive, 5-5.
Joey T! Home run! (Pizza on Joey.) Braves lead 6-5. Joey’s first major league home run might be worth a little more playing time. What do you think, Fredi?
Top of the ninth, fire up the Grill.
Matt Kemp grounds out to short. That’s one. Yonder Alonso doubles to the right field corner. Here we go again. Yangervis Solarte pops out to Andrelton!! That’s two. Cory Spangenberg, tonight’s goat, seeks redemption. Grilli throws the ball to the backstop. Amarista to third. I need a drink.
Spangenberg walks, runners on first and third. Clint Barmes at the plate: STRIKE OUT! BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN!